Monday, November 24, 2014

Welcome to the Blue, Juan Nicasio!

The Dodgers brass continues to build up some depth in the bullpen; thereby addressing holes in the roster that proved fatal last season.  Via a tweet from the Dodgers, they trade for Rockies RHP Juan Nicasio in exchange for cash or PTBNL.

Juan Nicasio had been a starter, but was converted to a reliever during the middle of the past season.  Via a Dodger press release:
Nicasio, 28, was 6-6 with a 5.38 ERA 33 games (14 starts) for the Rockies last season, his fourth in the big leagues. During the second half of the season, Nicasio appeared exclusively out of the bullpen and posted a 3.48 ERA in 19 games, including a stretch in September when he allowed just one run in nine games (9.2 IP).

The native of the Dominican Republic owns a career mark of 21-22 in 88 career games (69 starts), all with Colorado from 2011-14. In 2013, Nicasio established career highs in wins (9), starts (31), innings (157.2) and strikeouts (119). In his career at Dodger Stadium, the right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA (14 ER/34.2 IP) and a .244 opponents' batting average in seven games (six starts).
Nicasio throws primarily a hard fastball and slider.  Since becoming a reliever batters have hit just .227 against him; while seeing his strike out rate, walk rate, WHIP and FIP improve.  Via Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors:
Nicasio has averaged about 93 mph on his heater throughout his career, and a look at his velocity chart (courtesy of Fangraphs) from 2014 shows that his fastball jumped to nearly 95 mph when pitching out of the ‘pen late in the season.
BTW, Juan Nicasio has had some bad luck with injuries.  In  2011 Nicasio was struck in the head with a batted ball that almost took his life.  While pitching against Nationals, Ian Desmond hit a line drive that went straight for Nicasio's head and caused him to fall awkwardly.  As a result of losing his balance, he fell on the ground and fractured a vertebrae in his neck.  Then the following year, he twisted his knee while fielding a groundball that resulted in arthroscopic surgery.  He has been healthy since then.  Below is a video of Nicasio getting hit with the ball.

Video Link:

In celebration of Nicasio's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from Zimbio (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America) and the 1987 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats for Juan Nicasio, via Baseball-Reference:

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